The Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft on Thursday in an attempt to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of “Call of Duty” publisher Activision Blizzard.
The suit comes as regulators with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission continue to evaluate the deal. Rival PlayStation maker Sony has been lobbying regulators around the world in an attempt to curtail Microsoft’s plans.
In a press release, the FTC asserted that the deal “would enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business.”
The agency went on to accuse Microsoft of backtracking on assurances given to European Union antitrust regulators when in 2021 Microsoft acquired gaming content developed by Bethesda Softworks. Despite the assurances, Microsoft made some of Bethesda’s games exclusive to its gaming ecosystem, the FTC said. The agency also expressed concerns that Microsoft is one of only two high-performance console makers.
The deal, which Microsoft announced in Jan. 2022, would make the tech giant the third-largest gaming company in the world by revenue behind Tencent and Sony. Microsoft claims that the move will help it compete in the mobile gaming space — thanks to Activision Blizzard’s King business — and continue to build out its Xbox Cloud Gaming service.